Aberdeen Fire Department receives grant for new education tool

Bringing the fire to live-fire exercises

The Aberdeen Fire Department received a $10,000 grant from State Farm for the purchase of a new training tool, to better help members of the public learn how to extinguish home or workplace fires.

The tool, a Lion Bullex Intelligent Training System, will help users to learn how to accurately and effectively use a fire extinguisher to combat a nascent fire, said AFD fire services specialist Mitch Housden.

“The new prop allows us to safely ignite and extinguish the fire,” Housden said. “The old one, we had to put ourselves in harms way, being right over the propane and lit it with a road flare.”

Using an infrared sensor and a water-based extinguisher, participants will learn to properly extinguish a fire as the system gauges whether or not their efforts are effective and dial the fire up or down accordingly, Housden said. It also saves on clean up involved in using a dry-material extinguisher.

“It allows us to go more places,” Housden said. “There’s less clean up.”

The funding for the training tool came from a State Farm community safety grant, said agent David Steinman, who presented the department with the ceremonial check on Tuesday.

“We try to do community safety grant as frequently as we can,” Steinman said. “We do the fire safety kits every year. The grants are as needed.”

Grants go out to organizations such as fire and police departments, Steinman said. This one took about six months from beginning of the process to now, Steinman said.

“We’re looking for things all the time,” Steinman said.

It’s a huge leap from the old training tool to this one, Steinman said. Being able to support the fire safety education aspect of the department’s operations is huge, Steinman said.

“It’s amazing to see what they had to do before and what they have now. It’s very heartening,” Steinman said. “Thanks to the fire department for all they do, keeping us safe and educating our kids. It’s so impactful to them.”

Housden said he hopes it broadens out the groups of folks who reach out to the department to arrange for a demonstration and training with the gadget, from school kids to seniors.

“With the safety nets in place, we feel comfortable offering safety talks to more people,” Housden said. “We want to open this up to businesses, groups. At public events, we’ll get this out there. With larger audiences, it helps spread our fire safety message.”

Housden encouraged any interested party to contact the department at 360-537-3265 to set up a fire extinguisher training event.

Contact Senior Reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757-621-1197 or mlockett@thedailyworld.com.